Dec 17 (Mt 1:1-17)

A genealogist is a person who records/tables the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors.

>> He/She draws the family tree.

Once a person asked a genealogist:

“Why do you think that your duty is very great?”

The genealogist, with a gentle smile replied:

“Remember that when a family member passes away, they take a library of memories with them.

>> It’s a genealogist’s duty to record them all, for the good of the future generations!”

True indeed!

>> A genealogy gives a memorable library of memories…

… and helps us to be moved by the Magnificent Miracles wrought by our Marvellous God!

The Gospel of the Day presents the marvellous work of St Mathew, the genealogist…

…the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

This passage of the Gospel is something that we hear and read very rarely…

… and much less meditated upon.

What are the different aspects that the Genealogy of Christ makes us to reflect on?

1. The Genealogy of Jesus is one of the finest treasures of God’s Grace and Providence

St Matthew (1: 1-17) and St Luke (3: 23-38) present the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

>> They could be called as the “forgotten passages of the Christmas Story”.

The names in it sound too obscure, their pronunciation beyond comprehension, their purpose highly hazy.

>> Perhaps, these are some of the common excuses we find, in avoiding to read or reflect on the accounts of the Genealogy.

But we must realise that in the account of the Genealogy, is buried the marvellous working of God’s Grace and His Amazing Providence – the manner in which the “streams of God’s Grace flows through the ordinary and the great, the mighty and simple people”

>> The Genealogy teaches us open our eyes to see the ways of God working in our lives- hidden yet awesome; silent yet splendid

2. The two accounts of Genealogy are not contradictory; rather they are two perspectives to show Jesus as the Son of David

There are two accounts of Genealogy in the Gospels: St Matthew, which starts with Abraham; St Luke, which starts with Adam

Apparently, the two accounts look to be contradicting each other

But on closer look, we find…

… St Matthew traced the family line through Joseph, whereas St Luke traced it through Mary.

This was because Gospel of Matthew, being written to the Jews, had a legal requirement to show Jesus descending from the father, who belonged to the line of King David.

>> This account also made sure it kept the prophecy in Jer 22:24-30 (“For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.?)

St Luke’s version also shows Jesus as the Son of David, coming through his son Nathan.

>> Thus, both the accounts show that Jesus, as the Son of David, had the right to the throne of Israel

3. The Genealogy mentions some notorious people – yet the Messiah was born in this family!

The Genealogy mentions 5 women

a. Tamar: Disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law Judah (Gen 38)

b. Rahab: A Gentile, prostitute; she helped the Jewish spies to hide and to escape from the enemies ( Josh 2)

c. Ruth: A Gentile, with the background of a family who offered themselves to pagan gods

d. The wife of Uriah: The Gospel doesn’t even mention her name; suffered abuse by David, the great King of Israel.

e. Mary: A simple woman from Nazareth, who was found to be with child, before the marriage.

All these five women were considered dis”graced” – some gentiles, some involved in sexual immorality, some finding themselves in situations of family disgrace.

>> Yet the Messiah is born in this family – to show that God’s “Grace” can wash away every dis”grace”!

It shows that God can write straight, with crooked lines!

4. The Genealogy is also a lesson to the self-righteous people

Besides the mention of the apparently “not-pleasant women’, the list also mentions of kings, many of whom were unfaithful, of idolaters, of people without morals etc.

The Family Tree of Jesus is really not a pretty picture; it looks to be “very unclean”

>> Yet, St Matthew’s Gospel, written to the Jews, gives a message that it is not self-righteousness that wins salvation (as thought by many Pharisees, Scribes and Jewish leaders); it is God’s grace and mercy, along with our co-operation to His Will.

5. The Genealogy gives us the great message of hope

We may have…

… a past that is hurting us – either due to our biological family or due to our own experiences of life

… a past that is sinful and we wish to forget

… a past that is painful or abused

… a past that has experienced humiliations and rejection

>> Yet, the Genealogy teaches us the big lesson that all our past can be cleansed and healed, by the mighty presence of Jesus.

Cardinal Van Thuan says in his book ‘The Testimony of Hope’:

“The river of history, full of sinners and criminals, becomes a source of pure water, as we approach the fullness of time. With Mary, the Mother and Jesus, the Messiah, all generations will be renewed again”

The Genealogy of our Blessed Lord teaches that Jesus was very much historical…

… and shared our world.

>> In Jesus, we have a God, who is not distant or away from us – but Someone, Who is deeply intimate with us, involved in our lives and sharing our joys and pains of life.

May a deeper meditation on the Genealogy of Jesus enable us to explore the memorable library of memories…

… and helps us to be moved by the Magnificent Miracles wrought by our Marvellous God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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